Unfortunately all babies and children get ill, quite often it seems like they may go from one cold to another.  Thankfully (touch wood), N’s not been a child who’s been hit badly by various bugs and colds.  He’s quite often got a bit of a cough and disgustingly snotty nose, but had a mild case of hand, foot and mouth and only 5 spots of chicken pox with no other symptoms, so I definitely think he’s (and we’ve) been lucky.  Just hoping he’s built up his immunity by being around lots of babies when under one, and now is at nursery and with his older school age cousins.  Fingers crossed.

Often there doesn’t seem like there’s anything you can do when children (under 2 years especially) are ill.  But comparing solutions with other mums comes up with lots of different ideas of how to soothe them and make them more comfy.

Here’s some tips for when they’re ill:

  • Constipation – tummy massage is great, look online for lots of resources if you can’t find a class (check out the local children’s centre); drop of orange juice heavily diluted is fine even for really young babies – syringed or bottle, prunes (although have to admit I struggled to find any pouches with prunes inside at the time I needed them for N) or generally fruit or veg with lots of water in.  Milk brand can make a difference with lots of mums saying SMA blocks babies up, although we found it fine.  On the other hand we found Aptamil to go right through him, so it depends what yours drinks.
  • Don’t worry if they don’t poo for days – breast feeding babies especially.  Formula fed babies are less likely.  Others like to poo every time they eat which is also normal.  And don’t panic when poo changes colour each time – you’ll be amazed at how different it can be (and how as a new mum you start talking about poo!)
  • NHS Direct are fab, use them over Googling!  Some areas now have 111 which I’ve found even better than the replaced NHS Direct.  Depends on your area, but if your surgery opens 2 hours a day and 4 on a Thursday like mine, out of hours will be needed at some point.
  • Try and find a cheap first aid course through your local Children’s centres or your doctor’s surgery.  Useful even if you’ve done first aid before to give reassurance.  I managed to get on a weaning talk at our children’s centre, and straight afterwards was a free session with a St John’s Ambulance person.  But even the courses that had a cost were only about a fiver.
  • Teething – amongst my mum friends, we all raved about Ashton & Parsons teething powder but you virtually have to murder to get hold of any.  Nelson’s are an alternative.  Dentinox teething gel’s ok and obviously Bonjela junior.
  • Colds and coughs – Prop up the head of the bed (books do the job, or something to wedge the mattress up);  Olbas oil on a cloth on the radiator (or buy Snufflebabe – great vapour rub for kids), put vapour rub on the soles of their feet (works for adults too) which miraculously stops coughing…weird but true

Tied in with illnesses, is crying.  The rumours are that all mums get to know the difference between the child’s cries.  Can’t say I did, although N only really cried when he was hungry, which was a lot.  But some people do.

  • Supposedly babies can’t concentrate on several things at once, so if they’re crying try 3 or more things at once – cuddle, sing, pat on back, walk round etc – and it should soothe them.
  • Don’t worry if you need to take time out and leave them to it.  Check there’s nothing obvious wrong, put them down somewhere safe and leave the room (scream if necessary out of earshot!).  Good way to get a breather.

If you’ve found any solutions that worked for you with your little ones, share the knowledge.  

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